Can Eminoğlu | 13 July 2022
Thanks to the support of EU Humanitarian Aid and the United States, persons in need of international protection are assessed and supported in accordance with their specific needs and referred to other institutions for accessing necessary services.
Hatay, Türkiye. To address the protection needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Türkiye, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, undertakes a range of activities. In addition to conducting door-to-door protection assessments with the support of its partners, UNHCR utilizes online tools such as the Help Website, Services Advisor and UNHCR Türkiye Information Board on Facebook. These tools are crucial for providing reliable and updated information on available protection services. In this way, the protection situation is constantly being assessed, and necessary responses are being offered to persons forced to flee their homes due to persecution and war.
One significant protection-based activity is information counselling for groups. These sessions cover how to access available services in the cities of residence, including psycho-social support and health services. For instance, in Hatay, UNHCR and its partner Support to Life (STL) jointly implement sessions, creating an efficient platform for in-person counselling.
Shahad*, a Syrian from Idlib, is a volunteer who updates her community about these and related gatherings. “We give importance to these gatherings,” she stresses. “Participants can ask their questions in person and it gives the possibility of reaching out to more people”. In the time of COVID-19, needs assessment processes and counselling sessions continued online.
Manal*, a young woman from Iraq living in Hatay, has participated in two of these information counselling sessions. She thinks that these sessions have been useful during her stay in Türkiye. “It was challenging in the past when I did not know the support, tools and digital platforms of UNHCR and STL,” she explains. “Now, it is easy and practical. We are not only provided with the information itself but the detailed steps on how to proceed with matters related to us.”
Another purpose of the sessions is to pass the information on to larger communities through the help of the participants. Walida*, another Syrian participant from Aleppo who came to Türkiye in 2015, is an active member in her community, and many of her friends and neighbours contact her when they have a question. “Being of help removes the burden from our shoulders,” Walida expresses. “What I do is pass on the information I learn here further. But on issues that require professional help, I encourage people to get into contact with UNHCR.”
Seeking asylum is a human right, and providing protection to those who are in need is one of the main pillars of UNHCR’s mandate. The Global Compact on Refugees also reaffirms the fundamental principle of refugee protection, calls on States for a more equitable responsibility-sharing and recognizes that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation. UNHCR will continue collaborating with its donors, including EU Humanitarian Aid and the United States, to provide timely protection response, benefitting both refugees and the communities that generously host them.
*Names have been changed for safety reasons.